EPL

Nunez can be like Torres but 'faster' for Liverpool, says former Almeria coach

By Sports Desk June 15, 2022

Darwin Nunez has similar characteristics to former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, but may actually be even faster, according to one of the Uruguayan's former coaches.

Nunez's move from Benfica to Liverpool was confirmed on Tuesday, with the Portuguese club revealing the fee to be £64million (€75m), with a further £21.4m (€25m) in potential add-ons.

The 22-year-old enjoyed a prolific 2021-22 season, finding the net 34 times in 41 games in all competitions.

Torres, who played for Liverpool between 2007 and 2011, scored 81 goals in 142 appearances for the Reds before making a big-money move to rivals Chelsea, and at his peak was considered one of the best strikers in the world.

Comparisons have been made between Nunez and Torres, with similar statures and explosiveness, and former Almeria assistant manager David Badia believes the former is actually the quicker of the two.

Badia worked with Nunez during the 2019-20 season in the Spanish second tier, with the striker bagging 16 goals in 32 league games for Almeria before a €24m move to Benfica.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Badia said of the comparison with Torres: "Of course, Fernando is a Spanish guy, [so] I will protect him, but I think that Darwin is a little bit faster than him.

"When Darwin has the possession of the ball, he is a very good player, he can control the ball, he can protect the ball.

"Maybe Fernando [was] doing the same actions at a little bit lower speed, that also is good because you can do many other things, but in my opinion, Darwin can do the plays faster."

Badia also outlined Nunez's characteristics that should make him an ideal fit in Jurgen Klopp's side.

He added: "I think it's the combination of many things.

"It's not only just one thing that he has, but if I have to say something among the others - it's the change of the pace that he has, and the speed that he can maintain over a long distance.

"He can keep this speed for 30, 35, 40 metres, and then when he arrives at the end of a move he can finish it inside the box."

Klopp regularly refers to his players as "mentality monsters", and Badia is certain Nunez will fit in at Anfield in that respect as well, pointing out how the player came back from serious knee issues early on in his career.

"One hundred percent [he has the mentality]," he added. "I think he had one of the worst injuries that a player can have when he was 16 or 17 years old. And after that he became stronger.

"It's very important when a player has these injuries that he can develop himself and keep working to have this character, this mentality.

"I think the mentality he has, the ambition he has and the focus he is having through the years, he is working for that.

"If there is one coach that can improve the players, that one is the coach of Liverpool [Klopp]. In the end, I think he's in one of the best scenarios, or maybe the best team in the world right now where he can keep improving, and I think that he still has a long way to improve."

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